FileMaker is great for developing complete apps that do various small tasks, but it’s also a fantastic tool for prototyping more complex applications that require a good deal of interaction between multiple systems. While it’s not always the ideal solution for every case, it’s not rare that you’ll find plenty of good opportunities to reap the benefits of FileMaker in your own organization, and learning to use it for rapid prototyping is one of the best things you can do to ensure that you’re using your resources in an optimal way.
You can catch interface issues early on
One of the biggest problems you’ll encounter in user-facing applications is communicating the intentions of the interface correctly without any misunderstanding. That’s often not as easy as it sounds, especially if you have a more complex application that requires the user to go through multiple steps to complete a certain task. Sometimes, even though things may seem fine in your head, the layout of your app may not actually make too much sense for those who have to use it. Developing and deploying a prototype with FileMaker can force those issues to surface, and you can know that you have to work on them afterwards.
You can gauge performance
Even if you don’t end up using FileMaker for your final application, you can still get a good sense of its performance requirements from a prototype. There are some caveats here of course, such as the fact that different platforms have some inherent differences in how they work with data, and you might not always have the most objective overview of the situation. But when you need to figure out how a certain complex query will be processed for example, there’s nothing better than just developing a quick prototype in FileMaker and running some tests on it. The results can then be used as a basis for the development of your “real” application, so you’ll know what issues you need to watch out for.
Figure out your hosting needs from the start
A common issue that you’ll need to deal with when working in this environment is FileMaker hosting. If you’re planning to deploy applications that have to be shared between multiple users, you’ll want to make sure that they’re hosted in a reliable place with a firm who specialises in Filemaker Hosting that can give you a good guarantee for things like uptime and availability. Finding the right provider might prove tricky if you have a more specific set of requirements to fulfill, but once you’ve narrowed down the list and found someone reliable enough to work with, this can significantly simplify your whole work in the long run.
There are two sides to this coin, too – you’ll be able to sort out your own hosting needs and you’ll know exactly what kinds of services you’re looking to get later on when you’re deploying the actual application. This can save you a great deal of time, not to mention money, when you don’t end up going for the wrong kind of deal which doesn’t work for you that well, and you can navigate the market better.
No need to worry about security
If you want to prevent any issues with security later on, the best way to go about that is to sort them out from the very beginning, when developing your prototype. There are many things that can go wrong in an application like that, especially one that works with sensitive user data, and protecting the integrity of your information should be one of your top priorities. When you start with a good prototype, you’ll be able to immediately identify places where something can go wrong with security, and you will be able to focus on those areas when you start working on the real application later on.
It doesn’t matter if you end up using FileMaker or something completely different for that application, you’ll find that many of the finer points about potential security issues are still going to be shared across the board. Plus, this can give you a good idea of how security in database applications work as a whole, which is definitely not a bad thing for the long term if you’re going to be working with such applications on a regular basis.